I suppose you could call this good news

HRC is attacking Obama on abortion (as too wishy-washy) rather than on health care, guns, and crime (as too liberal). But the attacks are false: Obama was carrying out a strategy invented by pro-choice groups when he cast those “present” votes.

The Clinton campaign has apparently thought better yesterday’s plan to attack Obama for being too liberal. Instead it’s attacking him for being insufficiently pro-choice: not an issue the Republicans are likely to pick up on in November. That’s the good news.

The bad news (if you’re a Clinton fan) is that the charges are dishonest. Apparently the strategy of having some strongly pro-choice members of the Illinois Senate vote “present” instead of “no” on some anti-choice bills was designed by Planned Parenthood of Illinois as a way of giving cover to Senators from swing districts who didn’t want to vote “Yes” but couldn’t survive voting “No.”

“The poor guy is getting all this heat for a strategy we, the pro-choice community, did,” said Pam Sutherland, president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

Yeah, yeah, you already knew Mark Penn was a liar. But as Brad DeLong likes to say, the Cossacks work for the Tsar. The very same unfailing judgment of talent and character that got the Clinton campaign Mark Penn as its ringleader would also be at work picking cabinet officers in a Clinton White House.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com